First of all congratulations mom!! This is such an exciting time for you and your children! Which means you have to find the perfect dress for the occasion!
Shopping for a mother of the bride or groom dress can be a very overwhelming process. Most women haven’t worn a gown like this before and don’t really know where to start let alone what to do. Well worry no more! As a professional bridal consultant I have some advice to help make your search a little easier!
1. Be willing to TRY things
I promise it doesn’t hurt to try anything on. You’ve likely never worn a gown like this before. So try something with lace, with a shorter sleeve, maybe some sequins. You never know something might surprise you!
But with that being said you know what looks best on you. If v necks didn’t look good before they aren’t going to look good now. Just remember to have an open mind. Your consultant might know of something that would look great on you. Just try it on. The worst thing that is going to happen is that you take it off.
2. You don't always have to have a full sleeve
Here is the thing moms I’m going to be honest for a minute. It is going to be very difficult to find a dress that isn’t matronly when you are at the same time be asking for a full length sleeve or a jacket.
I know most of you would want some sort of a sleeve and yes some coverage is good. But you don’t have to be all covered up! Sometimes just a cap sleeve or 3/4 sleeve is perfect! I know some of you have GREAT arms or maybe GREAT shoulders so show them off! However, if sleeves make you more comfortable go for it. Just know that you can rock that dress even if it doesn’t cover up your arms.
3. Pick your color carefully
Please be aware of the color that you are selecting. You will likely be in a lot of photos and these are photos that you will want to hang in your house. Odds are you haven’t had a professional family photo in a long time. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb in your photos. That is why it is best to stay in the same color family as the bridal party. However, I do not mean you should MATCH with the party. You shouldn’t be wearing the same exact color as the groomsmen or the bridesmaids unless that is what the bride requests.
4. You shouldn't blend into the background
This one’s for you Mothers of the Groom! I often work with mothers that say “I don’t want to take away from the bride” or “I just want to blend in.” Mom NO! You are important too! Nobody would be at the wedding if you didn’t have your son or daughter. You are being celebrated as well! But with that being said there is a zero percent chance that you will upstage the bride. Unless you are wearing white everyone’s eyes will be on the bride.
With that being said, know what is appropriate for the occasion. If it is a small wedding and the bride isn’t wearing a fancy gown maybe don’t pick the full beaded sequin dress. But if it is a very formal wedding pick something with a little bling.
5. Be respectful of the other mother
Traditionally, the mother of the bride picks her dress first or at least her color. But that is not to say that if she is taking her sweet time that the mother of the groom can’t start shopping. Don’t let them control your decision! We will touch more on ordering later. But just be mindful of the other mother. If you know you aren’t going to make a decision until last minute tell her that. Also keep in mind that you might be in a few photos with her! So you will want to make sure your two colors go together as well. You want to coordinate and communicate with her.
6. Not everyone has to be IN LOVE with the dress for you to buy it
This is a big one Mama’s! You need to wear what you feel comfortable in! Just like I tell my brides not everyone is going to love your dress. You are NEVER going to please everyone. So that means you don’t need to wait weeks to purchase your dress until everyone you care about can see you in it and approve of it. You should trust your gut and go with what you feel good with and comfortable in. If you know that you need someone to help you make the decision bring that someone with you to your appointments. perhaps the bride, or your sister, or your daughter. Bring the people that you know will tell you their honest opinion if that is what you are looking for.
7. Be aware of your timeline
Be aware of what you are shopping for. If you are looking to get your gown from a bridal boutique know that their dresses are likely going to be made to order. Meaning that they could take 3-4 months maybe even more depending on the shop. Plus you will want time after the dress comes in for alterations. So you would want to be shopping at about 6 months before the wedding.
If you decide to not get your dress made to order you have the option of purchasing off the rack. or ready to wear. Places like Macy’s, Nordstroms, Von Maur and even David’s Bridal are “ready for you” stores. Meaning that your dress is not being made when you buy it so you can walk out of the store with it. This makes it easier for you to get a dress if don’t want to shop early. These options will usually be more budget friendly since it isn’t being custom made.